In 1911, Rutherford proposed a revolutionary view of the atom. He suggested that the atom consisted of a small, dense core of positively charged particles in the center (or nucleus) of the atom, surrounded by a swirling ring of electrons. The nucleus was so dense that the alpha particles would bounce off of it, but the electrons were so tiny, and spread out at such great distances, that the alpha particles would pass right through this area of the atom. Rutherford's atom resembled a tiny solar system with the positively charged nucleus always at the center and the electrons revolving around the nucleus.
The positively charged particles in the nucleus of the atom were called protons. Protons carry an equal, but opposite, charge to electrons, but protons are much larger and heavier than electrons.
In 1932, James Chadwick discovered a third type of subatomic particle, which he named the neutron. Neutrons help stabilize the protons in the atom's nucleus. Because the nucleus is so tightly packed together, the positively charged protons would tend to repel each other normally. Neutrons help to reduce the repulsion between protons and stabilize the atom's nucleus. Neutrons always reside in the nucleus of atoms and they are about the same size as protons. However, neutrons do not have any electrical charge; they are electrically neutral.
Atoms are electrically neutral because the number of protons (+ charges) is equal to the number of electrons (- charges) and thus the two cancel out. As the atom gets larger, the number of protons increases, and so does the number of electrons (in the neutral state of the atom).